Peaceful demonstration to Open Shu Hada Street, Hebron, escalates into violence

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PNN Febr 25 2012

A peaceful demonstration, organized by Youth Against Settlements movement to mark eighteen years since the Ibrahim Mosque Massacre, was violently broken up by Israeli forces.

Thousands of Palestinians from across the West Bank joined by solidarity activists participated in a demonstration in Hebron today calling for the reopening of Shuhada Street. Occupation forces arrested Badia Dweik (39), member of Youth Against Settlements, along with Fadi Quran (24) and four other Palestinians. Issa Amro, Coordinator of Youth Against Settlements and dozens of others suffered asphyxiation due to overwhelming amounts of tear gas.

Medical sources from Mohammad Ali Hospital reported that the number of injured protesters that arrived to the hospital and were treated amounted to over 80 people. The number of injured continues to rise as a result of tear gas inhalation.

The event was just one of many activities organized as part of a wider campaign marking the 3rd Annual Global Day of Action to Open Shuhada Street. This year’s campaign was called “Shideh Helek Ya Balad” (a call for Hebronites to join the struggle)

Unarmed demonstrators chanted for the reopening of Shuahda Street, ending the closure on the city of Hebron and the removal of settlers from the city. Other chants expressed solidarity with Sheikh Khader Adnan (currently under administrative detention and his 65-plus-day hunger strike), as well as calling for Palestinian national unity.

Media spokesperson for the 3rd Annual Global Day of Action to Open Shuhada Street, Tamer Al-Atrash said, “despite our peaceful, unarmed demonstration, Occupation forces met it with violence as yet another way of supporting the illegal settlement enterprise. None of this will stop us from continuing our struggle to reopen Shuhada Street, the closure of which results in severe human rights violations. Worldwide solidarity actions took place today. thousands of Palestinians from various regions of the West Bank, and representing the full political spectrum, met in Hebron in coordination with national and Islamic entities in the city.”

The Annual Global Day of Action to Open Shuhada Street falls on the 18th commemoration of the Ibrahimi Mosque Massacre. The campaign was launched in 2010 in more than 25 locations across the world, growing the following year to more than 31 locations. This year over 35 solidarity actions will take place globally.

Shuhada Street is in the heart of Hebron and is the central thoroughfare connecting all corners of the city. It has been closed since the Ibrahimi Mosque Massacre in 1994.

On the occasion of the 3rd Annual Global Day of Action to Open Shuhada Street, the Mayor of Naples, Italy, sent the following message of solidarity:

In a normal country, Shuhada Street would be a swarm of workshops, sellers of zatar, barbers and candy artisans. In a country under occupation, Shuhada Street, is instead subjected to an endless curfew, closed shops, racist drawings and writings painted on walls and doors. Citizens from international movements, as well as Palestinians and Israelis, who are acting in a nonviolent manner to reopen Shuhada Street, represent one of the best aspects of solidarity and humanity. I send them all my support and hope that Hebron will soon return to be a town of inclusion. In fact, the Arabic name of the city, Al-Khalil, means “friend” and those who live there cannot, and never will be an enemy.

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